So you no doubt recall the stories last week that indicated that Trump supporters in South Carolina overwhelmingly want the Rebel flag back over their capitol, and wish the South had won the Civil War. Well, now it gets worse. It turns out that a whopping 20% of his supporters think that freeing the slaves was a bad idea. Perhaps when he campaigns in the South for our big primary next Tuesday, he should blast Hank Williams Jr.’s “If the South woulda won, we woulda had it made” at his rallies. Uh oh, I hope I didn’t just give them an idea.
Meanwhile, here’s a pretty good indication of how well Trump might do in Mississippi. The governor has declared April to be Confederate Heritage Month in his state, making no mention of slavery at all. Looks like the governor needs to read the Mississippi ordinance of secession to learn exactly what heritage he is celebrating. I also have to wonder how Mississippi’s own Newton Knight would feel about all this, and can’t wait until the whole country and Mississippi learn about him when Free State of Jones is released.
And then there is this: famous “ex” KKK leader David Duke has proclaimed on his radio show that voting against Trump is an act of “treason against your heritage,” because of Rubio and Cruz’s Hispanic backgrounds. Yep. What a great coalition of supporters that Trump is attracting.
On the other end of the spectrum: Big news in DC as Obama has nominated what would be the first African American and female Librarian of Congress, Dr. Carla Hayden. Let’s hope this nomination avoids the petty politics that will clearly hinder the president’s other forthcoming nomination. It seems pretty clear that this move is needed in order to fast forward the library into the age of more digital information.
More about Broadway’s Hamilton: I’ve read a lot of praise about the show, and posted some of it here, but this new blog posting by Colonial Williamsburg interpreter Emily Doherty is perhaps the best I’ve read for conveying the experience of seeing the show. “The energy in the room,” she writes, “is more akin to what one expects at a rock show than at a Broadway play.” Ultimately, she apparently came away feeling even more passion about her job as a public historian.
More about Mercy Street: here’s a pretty interesting piece from Forbes that addresses some of the medical history stuff from the show. The author does a Q&A with the National Museum of Civil War Medicine’s Director of Research, Terry Reimer.
And while we are discussing TV: History channel (which now calls itself just History) has already premiered that history talk show with Craig Ferguson called Join or Die (which I watched last week and not surprisingly found to be pretty weak, although it could actually be good with the right “experts” and if Ferguson would tone his maniac ramblings down a notch), but tonight they premiere a new block of shows that they collectively refer to as Night Class. It is clear that they are trying to tap into the success Comedy Central has had with the brilliant Drunk History, and have lined up some pretty big stars to contribute to the shows. Here is a description of each of them. Like Ferguson’s show, this could be really good, or REALLY BAD. I do think we need to check them out, however, because those of us that teach are likely to get at least some students that will watch these things and have questions for us about accuracy. Meanwhile, here’s a teaser clip that shows what we can expect:
UPDATE: I watched Night Class and it is HORRIBLE!! Do not even waste your time.
And while we are on history and mass entertainment: that new movie The Witch looks pretty horrible, doesn’t it? It appears to be a stylish, yet ridiculous horror movie set in a Puritan environment:
And perhaps it is as bad as it looks. However, here’s an interesting review from the US Intellectual History Blog that indicates that it might actually have some merit in its betrayal of Puritans.